Champ Bailey: Potential Jets

Doug Pensinger

The seventh overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, Champ Bailey has put together one of the greatest careers for a cornerback in NFL history. The seven-time All Pro is almost certain to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot. The 35 year old is a likely cap casualty. The Broncos have some key free agents, and Bailey's $10 million cap number for 2014 looks prohibitive. Denver would eliminate the entire $10 million from their cap by cutting the living legend. He could be available for other teams.

While Bailey has made his career as a cornerback, he might be at the end of the line at that position. He had an injury-plagued 2013 and a really rough Super Bowl. Bailey has indicated he might be open to a position switch, however. Greats like Rod Woodson have extended their career by moving to safety in the past. Bailey might not have the speed to cover receivers all the way down the field on the outside, which might make a change necessary.

His skillset seems to translate well to the back end, however. He is regarded as one of the best tackling safeties ever. He is a highly intelligent and instinctual football player. During his Jets' tenure, Rex Ryan has never put a huge priority on the safety position. The Jets have never made a premium investment at safety under Rex. What he has desired are smart and functional players who know where to be, know where to get players lined up, and make steady contributions.

If the Jets are going to have an old living legend play safety for them next year, I would prefer Bailey to Ed Reed. I would not sign Bailey to play cornerback. If the Jets could land him in the $4-5 million range with minimal guarantees, and he is willing to move, I think he would be a solid acquisition.

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